What’s new next year: The new school year will bring changes to schools in Florida, from kindergarten to college. Among them: 20 minutes of required recess every day for elementary students, an end to the algebra 2 end-of-course exam, some standardized tests done on paper instead of computers and conducted later in the school year, more money and flexibility with Bright Futures scholarships, no required career class in middle schools, students will be permitted to bring sunscreen to school, and student-athletes will have an easier time opting out of physical education classes. Sun Sentinel. Bright Futures scholarships winners will get $6,000 this year instead of $3,000, plus $300 for books each semester and money for summer school. It’s just for this year, though, since Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the higher education bill that would have made the changes permanent. Orlando Sentinel.
Tax hike for charters: Leon County School Superintendent Rocky Hanna says the district may have to ask voters for a tax hike to cover the $750,000-$800,000 in construction funds that now will go to charter schools under the provisions of H.B. 7069. “We may end up going to voters about increasing (sales tax) a half penny so that we can continue to build schools when needed and renovate those in need of repair,” said Hanna. Tallahassee Democrat.
Restarting D.A.R.E.: Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell wants to restart the D.A.R.E. anti-drug education program for 5th-graders in county schools in the 2018-2019 school year. The Drug Awareness Resistance Education ended in Lake schools in 2013 because of budget problems, and after studies showed it had little impact on students. But Grinnell says the program has evolved to include life skills, conflict resolution and making good choices. Orlando Sentinel.
Guns at schools: Duval County School Board member Scott Shine says parents should be held accountable when their children take guns to schools. “These are not kids who went out looking for a gun to do something,” Shine says. “These are kids who found a gun or it came to them. … People are all worked up about guns in schools but, quite frankly, parents are just leaving their guns laying around.” Florida Times-Union.